A Pediatrician at the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Enerstina Schandorf is calling on the government to include childhood cancer in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) so as to absolve the expensive treatment of the disease.
Globally, about 300,000 children get childhood cancer with about 1,300 of them recorded in Ghana.
However, only 300 cases are reported in Ghana and hence indicates that 70% of children with childhood cancer are left untreated.
Moreover, in Ghana, childhood cancer is not given the much-needed attention and thus endangers the lives of children as there is a 30-50% chance of recovery.
Dr. Enerstina Schandorf, in a media engagement, entreated all stakeholders in the country and the government to include childhood cancers in the NHIS to help ease the expensive treatment on parents.
“We are really pleading with the stakeholders of this nation, the government to try and include childhood cancers to the National Health Insurance Scheme so to reduce the burden on parents”, she said.
Dr. Schandorf attributed the low recovery percentages to the challenges the health sector faces in diagnosing and treatment of the disease.
“In terms of research, currently in the whole of Ghana, we have just 5 specialists who are specialized in pediatric oncology that is childhood cancer which is woefully inadequate for the whole of Ghana. And, we have no specialist pediatric oncology nurse,” she bemoaned.
She also stated that the number of reported cases is far below the expected number due to ignorance and financial restrictions.
“So people because of financial constraints, because of lack of awareness that it could be cancer stay at home and end up doing a lot of herbal and spiritual treatment and by the time they come it’s too late”, she said.
Dr. Schandorf further urged the general public to spread awareness of childhood cancer.
“Childhood cancer is curable; report early, and save a life.”
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